Gambians in Sudan Finally Arrive Home

208

The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad last week informed the general public that  Gambian citizens (56 students and one professional football player) arrived in Banjul as part of the sixty-six (66) Gambians that were successfully repatriated from Sudan to Jeddah, following the eruption of fighting in the capital, Khartoum, in mid-April.

On receiving the returnees at the Ministry on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Dr Mamadou Tangara, the Permanent Secretary I, Ambassador Lang Yabou, thanked the Almighty Allah for making it possible to safely evacuate all Gambian citizens from Sudan. He welcomed the students home and advised them to remain strong.

“Moving forward, take this development as a step in your life and career. It is not the end and you must continue to have hope and belief that, after this experience, you would emerge stronger. Everything in life happens for a reason and as people with faith, we must always remain strong in every situation that we find ourselves in.”

“The Government is aware that some of you have very little time left to finish your studies and some have a couple of years left. In recognition of this, His Excellency, the President has given approval for MOFA to work with you and all stakeholders to find solutions that would enable you to complete your studies and MOFA would work with you to explore all possibilities both in the country and outside,” posited Ambassador Yabou.

Mr Burama Sanneh, Charge D’Affaires, Consulate General of The Gambia in Jeddah who accompanied the students to Banjul and Representatives of the Student Association, also spoke during the gathering, expressing their gratitude to His Excellency, the President, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Consulate General of The Gambia in Jeddah and the entire Government and People of The Gambia.

Each student was given a token amount by the Ministry to serve as transport fares to help them get to their respective homes.

On the 15th April, 2023, fighting erupted in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, between regular Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

On Sunday 16th April, contacts were established between the 59 (7 females, 52 males) Gambian students at the International University of Africa in Khartoum and various Gambian authorities following which, a comprehensive list was provided to the Consulate General in Jeddah and the Ministry.

On the same Sunday 16th April, engagements started between the Office of the President, MoFA and the SIS, and in the evening, MOFA issued a Press Release conveying Government’s position which includes expressing serious concerns, calling for an immediate ceasefire, cessation of hostilities, establishment of a humanitarian corridor and urging all the parties to engage in inclusive political dialogue to address their grievances as well as called on all Gambians home and in Sudan to remain calm as Government undertook the necessary steps to assist its nationals within the conflict zone in the Sudan. 

In the morning of Monday 17th April, MOFA contacted a number of The Gambia’s partners and friends to seek evacuation help. On the 25th April, 2023 Gambians were evacuated by bus from Khartoum to Port Sudan and on the 27th April, they were transported from Port Sudan by the Saudi Royal Navy to Jeddah where they were hosted in Habitat Hotel prior to their departure for Banjul on Monday, 8th May, 2023.

The occasion was also witnessed by Ambassador Habib T.B. Jarra, Permanent Secretary II, Directors, a cross section of MOFA staff and moderated by Mrs Fatou Njie, Director, Asian Affairs Directorate.

Earlier, Permanent Secretary, Yabou on behalf of the Minister and the entire staff of MOFA, extended heartfelt appreciation to His Excellency the President of the Republic and the entire Cabinet, the Government and the People of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Chief of Staff to the President, the Director General SIS and their overseas partners, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, MOFA Staff,  Members of the National Coordination Mechanism on Migration,  H.E Ambassador Omar G. Sallah and Team in Riyadh, Charge D’Affaires Mr Burama Sanneh and Team at the Consulate General in Jeddah, Dr Aboubaccarr Jeng, a Gambian working with the UN and his wife, the Executive of the Student Association in the Sudan, Gambian Missions in Riyadh, New York, Dakar, France, Addis, etc, IOM, Red Cross, the Media and the entire Gambian population especially the families of the affected persons for their patience during a difficult period.